Watson Cold Storage

Don Watson Transport was founded in 1948 and developed over 50 years as a long-haul and specialist carrier of meat for the domestic and export markets.

As meat processors and exporters increasingly demanded a single supplier of cold chain services from processing plant to export ship or plane, Watsons decided to develop a large-scale blast freezing facility at their Wodonga plant.

Requirement

With stock turnover increasing and business processes maturing, Watsons cold storage saw the opportunity to use sophisticated technology to more efficiently manage stock within their -30oC cold store.

They became aware of the products and services that RTS provided within cold store environments, due to their transport business regularly delivering stock to an existing RTS client. RTS was approached for advice on a suitable solution to deal with the challenges the Wodonga cold store facility was facing.

The challenges were complex, requiring detailed scanning at item level of export meat produce, prior to immediate blast freezing and storage in the warehouse for later despatch. RTS identified the requirement for a suitable warehouse management system (WMS) to best utilise the work space to best manage the staging area which had a great deal of incoming pallets. Each carton required detailed tallying prior to being put into the warehouse.

Solution

RTS evaluated the full requirements of the site during a site visit. They had a detailed understanding of the business processes through extensive experience in working within the cold storage industry.

RTS proposed a suitable cost effective solution that included a warehouse management system which automatically planned the functions within the warehouse to achieve accurate and effective management of over 2,000 stored pallets. The solution also included four RTS RF terminals that were all suitably rugged for use in the freezer environment. After further consultation, it was decided that RTS would provide a UNIX host server, replace all network cabling as well as reconfigure the Adroit SCADA compressor management software and recable the sensor system which was not functioning correctly.

Outcome

The complete solution has provided Watson cold storage with a fully managed and installed IT infrastructure that was delivered quickly (within an 8 week period). Staff that were previously very hands on within the warehouse, are now able to allow the IT systems RTS installed to help automate some of their work, which has freed them up to focus on other important business issues.

Watson cold storage are soon to open a site which will have capacity from 6,000 pallets in NSW in late 2006. This new facility will be triple the size of their Victorian operation. RTS will provide a similar solution for this site as well, after its resounding success at the Victorian plant.

Products implemented:

RTS RF terminals, RTS rugged scanners, RTS RF LAN, fixed printer and heated printer enclosure

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